This Weekend: Ruffalo and the Stones

It won’t put a dent in the long-awaited return of Seth MacFarlane’s famously foul-mouthed teddy bear, but Infinitely Polar Bear — the quirky, warm-hearted story of a family coping with mental illness — is this week’s best grownup bet in theaters. At home, the Rolling Stones party like it’s 1971.

  Signifies a Movies for Grownups Critic’s Pick



 Infinitely Polar Bear

Mark Ruffalo is irresistible as a Boston father struggling with bipolar disorder while raising two spirited daughters. Writer-director Maya Forbes based the film on her own childhood, and her affection for the subject and her characters shines through. Zoe Saldana brings unexpected warmth to the role of the girls’ mother, who loves her man despite his mercurial manner. You’ll be rooting for this family to find its way.




Ted 2

There is precisely one great gag in Seth MacFarlane’s follow-up to his hit comedy about a crude, drug-addled teddy bear that can talk: It involves a certain male action-movie star and a box of children’s cereal. The rest of the film alternates between gross-out stunts and defiantly tasteless jokes, like an episode of Can You Top This? taped at a Duke University frat house. If you insist on seeing Ted 2, stick around for the breakfast-cereal gag after the credits.


Big Game (Also on Video on Demand)
Terrorists have brought down Air Force One in the Finnish wilderness, and now they’re hot on the trail of the president. Bad move, villainous ones: The president is Samuel L. Jackson.


New on DVD, Blu-ray and Video on Demand


Caring for Mom & Dad
Narrated by Meryl Streep and coproduced by PBS and AARP, this absorbing documentary explores the growing prevalence of boomers caring for aging parents. You’ll be surprised by some of the ideas presented for dealing with our nation’s coming age wave.


The Rolling Stones: From the Vault Marquee Club Live in 1971
In an age when classic rock acts perform at a distant remove for stadium-size audiences, this vintage footage of the Rolling Stones tearing the roof off  London’s intimate Marquee Club is a welcome breath of sweaty, smoke-filled air. Captured on film a month before the release of Sticky Fingers, impossibly young Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Mick Taylor and Bill Wyman are masters of their métier.


Click here to see an exclusive interview with Diane Keaton talking about what happened when she asked Morgan Freeman out on a date.


Still out there in theaters:

  5 Flights Up
Diane Keaton and  Morgan Freeman are the year’s most adorable screen couple. They star as a long-married pair who must decide whether or not to relinquish the fifth-floor  Brooklyn walk-up apartment they’ve shared for four decades. The film addresses some serious issues, notably “aging in place,” and has some insightful lessons to impart about planning for the future versus constantly fretting about it.  FULL REVIEW

Writer-director Cameron Crowe and a stellar cast (Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone,  Bill Murray) went to  Hawaii, and all they brought back was this lousy movie. Cooper plays a military contractor whose ex-girlfriend (Rachel McAdams) has a deep dark secret that everyone in the theater except Cooper’s supposedly ingenious character gets immediately. In short, say goodbye to  Aloha.

Avengers: Age of Ultron
Captain America (Chris Evans) has been around since World War II. Tony  “Iron Man” Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is well into middle age. Those facts give an AARPropriate tinge to the latest all-star Marvel comics screen epic as the heroes battle a disagreeable robot voiced with trademark spookiness by James Spader.

The  TV show that inspired this movie redefined the word “outré” in 2004, then ran for eight increasingly shield-your-eyes seasons. Now series creator Doug Ellin is back with more of the Hollywood antics of pretty boy Vinnie Chase (Adrien Grenier) and his bro-ho posse (Eric, Turtle and Johnny Drama). Everyone who’s cool has a cameo, but the best reason to surround yourself with  Entourage has always been hard-charging über-agent Ari Gold ( Jeremy Piven) and his harried assistant, Lloyd (Rex Lee). Boom!  There’s your movie!

Far from the Madding Crowd
Thomas Hardy’s 1874 novel about a plucky farmer (adorable Carey Mulligan) and the three men who woo her (a sheep farmer, a military man and a rich bachelor) gets its fourth screen incarnation. We’ll always be partial to  John Schelsinger’s 1967 version, however, with Julie Christie in the lead role.

Good Kill
Ethan Hawke stars as a U.S. Air Force drone pilot in one of the year’s most important films. (It’s also among the most dramatically engaging.) He tracks down and exterminates Afghan enemies from the comfort of a  Las Vegas control room by day, then attempts to maintain a normal family life by night. Writer-director Andrew Niccol ( Gattaca) ingeniously explores the face of modern war without passing judgment on it.  (FULL REVIEW)

I’ll See You in My Dreams
The latest star in a welcome string of grownup-movie love stories,  Blythe Danner shines as a long-widowed woman who finds herself in an unexpected late-life romance with a charming, wealthy retiree ( Sam Elliott).  FULL REVIEW

 Inside Out

A monumental triumph for Disney/Pixar, this animated film burrows into the mind of a tween girl named Riley, where we meet her emotions: perky Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler), trembling Fear (Bill Hader), eye-rolling Disgust (Mindy Kaling), fiery Anger (Lewis Black) and short, misfit Sadness (Phyllis Smith). Part adventure story, part meditation on how memories shape our lives, the big-hearted  Inside Out is that rare film that lives up to its tagline — in its case, “a major emotion picture.”

Get discounts on airfare, hotels, car rentals and more — AARP Member Advantages. »

Jurassic World
Twenty-two years have passed since the unfortunate events on  Isla Nublar, and a new generation has finally opened a brand-new theme park there, featuring genetically cloned dinosaurs. Humanity’s hubris, by contrast, has changed not one bit in the intervening decades, so pretty soon we’ve got carnivores on the rampage all over again. Stars  Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard stay one step ahead of the jaws of death — not easy, considering her truly inappropriate heels.  (FULL REVIEW)

  Love & Mercy
Paul Dano and  John Cusack both star as  Beach Boy Brian Wilson — at different stages of his troubled life — in this heartfelt and tuneful biopic. The actors have very different takes on their subject, but director Bill Pohlad masterfully meshes their performances into a gratifying whole. Paul Giamatti breathes fire as the evil shrink who nearly ruined Wilson’s life.

Mad Max: Fury Road
Is this reboot of the original “Road Warrior” series any good? That’s for those of us who recall the original  Mel Gibson classic to decide. Tom Hardy stars as the hero this time around.

Al Pacino adds to his recent gallery of quirky, finely focused characters in this story of an eccentric small-town locksmith with a secret past. The film doesn’t really go anywhere until the old fellow summons the gumption to ask a lovely bank teller (Holly Hunter) out for dinner. Their sweetly fumbling attempts to find a connection come close to redeeming the entire enterprise.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
There are grownups on hand (Molly Shannon,  Nick Offerman), but this film about a high school senior forced by his mother to befriend a girl with leukemia belongs to its young stars, Thomas Mann and Olivia Cooke. Smart where other teen movies are patronizing, the film earns its emotional punch — and hearty laughs — through sharp characterizations. Thirty years from now, today’s teens will recall this movie with the same fondness boomers have for  Stand By Me and  The Breakfast Club.

San Andreas
This just in from  California: There  is no California! Dwayne Johnson stars as a Los Angeles County rescue-chopper pilot; as the seismologist who warns of a coming catastrophe,  Paul Giamatti spends much of the movie hiding under a desk.

Set Fire to the Stars
Elijah Wood stars as John Malcolm Brinnin, the New York academic who worshiped poet  Dylan Thomas — until he brought the hard-drinking, hell-raising writer to America. The movie won’t pull kids in from the beach, but cowriter Celyn Jones is riveting as Thomas, and director Andy Goddard’s black-and-white film starkly captures the perils of coming face to face with your idol.

As director, Brad Bird gives us a dazzling glimpse of an idealized future city. As cowriter, though, he leaves us somewhere this side of Utopia with a muddled plot about a mismatched pair — grizzled, cantankerous  George Clooney and perky, ever-optimistic Britt Robertson — trying to stave off the end of the world.   (FULL REVIEW)

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